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Stock Futures Pare Gains as Stein Hints at Tapering

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Stock futures were paring gains Friday after Federal Reserve Governor Jeremy Stein indicated the Fed could begin curbing its bond-buying program in September, and BlackBerry (BBRY) plunged after a disappointing quarter.

Futures for the S&P 500 were up 2 points, or 1.8 points above fair value, to 1,608.5. Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average were up 13 points, or 5.51 points above fair value, to 14,949. Futures for the Nasdaq were adding 2.75 points, or 2.66 points above fair value, to 2,902.25.

The benchmark 10-year Treasury was falling 8/32, boosting the yield to 2.502%. The dollar was down 0.05% to $82.86 according to the U.S. dollar index.

BlackBerry shares were plunging 23.41% to $11.09 after the company missed Wall Street's top- and bottom-line estimates in its first-quarter results on Friday. The smartphone maker reported revenue of $3.1 billion, up from $2.8 billion in the prior year's quarter, but below analysts' forecasts of $3.36 billion. BlackBerry reported a loss from continuing operations of $84 million, or 16 cents a share, compared with a loss of $510 million, or 97 cents a share, in the prior year's quarter.

Accenture (ACN) was plunging more than 8% to $73.10 after the company's quarterly revenues missed expectations and the consulting firm reduced its full-year sales guidance after two years of growth.

During a speech on monetary policy to the Council on Foreign Relations in New York, Stein urged investors to not look so much nonfarm payrolls data that is released going into the month's meeting. He cautioned that any move by the central bank to wind down stimulus will likely be decided according to economic numbers that preceded those jobs numbers and had been released since the Fall 2012 period when QE3 was launched, in assessing the overall U.S. recovery and in order to lessen potential volatility in the markets.

"The best approach is for the [Federal Reserve] to be clear that in making a decision in, say, September, it will give primary weight to the large stock of news that has accumulated since the inception of the program and will not be unduly influenced by whatever data releases arrive in the few weeks before the meeting ... as salient as these releases may appear to be to market participants," Stein commented.

"Even if a data release from early September does not exert a strong influence on the decision to make an adjustment at the September meeting, that release will remain relevant for future decisions," he said. "If the news is bad, and it is confirmed by further bad news in October and November, this would suggest that the 7% unemployment goal is likely to be further away, and the remainder of the program would be extended accordingly."

More Fed speeches are expected Friday.

At 9:15 a.m., Richmond Fed President Jeffrey Lacker is scheduled to give a speech on economic outlook in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia.

This will be followed by a speech from San Francisco Fed Bank President John Williams at 3:30 p.m.; his talk will focus on the economy and be delivered to the Sonoma Economic Conference in Rohnert Park, Calif.

In other corporate headlines, Pfizer (PFE) was rising more than 1% to $28.50 after the drug maker unveiled a new $10 billion share repurchase program, adding to the $3.9 billion left over from its previous buyback plan.

Celgene (CELG) has made a move to solidify its future in the multiple myeloma space, inking a licensing deal with Germany's MorphoSys AG for its MOR202 drug that could be worth $818 million to MorphoSys. Munich-based MorphoSys gets an up-front license fee of 70.8 million Euros ($92 million) and Celgene will purchase $60 million worth of new shares of the company, the parties said Thursday.

At 9:45 a.m. EDT, the Chicago Purchasing Managers Index is expected to show a decline to 56 in June from 58.7 in May.

The final estimate on the University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index will be released at 9:55 a.m. It's predicted to show come in at 82.7 for June, the same as the previous estimate.

The Hong Kong Hang Seng closed ahead by 1.78%. China's central bank chief Zhou Xiaochuan said Friday the it will continue to carry out "prudent" monetary policies, but will make tweaks and implement preemptive adjustments when needed and as appropriate.

The Nikkei 225 in Japan finished up 3.51% Friday. Japan's aggressive stimulus program, also commonly referred to as "Abenomics," appeared to have led to improving conditions there, as a spate of economic data Friday pointed to strengthening in the world's third-largest economy. Reports out Friday included retail sales, industrial output and inflation.

The FTSE 100 in London was up 0.06% and the DAX in Germany was down 0.15%.

August gold futures were tumbling $13.60 to $1,198 an ounce. August crude oil futures were rising 13 cents to $97.18 a barrel.

Written by Andrea Tse in New York

>To contact the writer of this article, click here: Andrea Tse.>.

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